In 2006. the US spent more on the war in Iraq than the whole world spent on investment in renewable energy.
On the fifth anniversary of the Iraq war, an advance edition of a new report from Oil Change International, entitled A Climate of War (pdf) quantifies both the greenhouse gas emissions of the Iraq War and the opportunity costs involved in fighting war rather than climate change.
Here’s some of what it says:
- Projected total US spending on the Iraq war could cover all of the global investments in renewable power generation that are needed between now and 2030 in order to halt current warming trends.
- The war is responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) since March 2003. To put this in perspective, CO2 released by the war to date equals the emissions from putting 25 million more cars on the road in the US this year.
- Between March 2003 and October 2007 the US military in Iraq purchased more than 4 billion gallons of fuel from the Defense Energy Support Center, the agency responsible for procuring and supplying petroleum products to the Department of Defense. Burning these fuels has directly produced nearly 39 million metric tons of CO2 Just transporting 4 billion gallons of fuel to the military in Iraq consumed at least as much fuel as was delivered nearly doubling overall fuel-related emissions.
- Emissions from the Iraq War to date are nearly two and a half times greater than what would be avoided between 2009 and 2016 were California to implement the auto emission regulations it has proposed, but that the Bush Administration has struck down.
- If the war were ranked as a country in terms of annual emissions, it would emit more CO2 each year than 139 of the world’s nations do, more than 60% of all countries on the planet.
- Just the $600 billion that Congress has allocated for military operations in Iraq to date could have built over 9000 wind farms (at 50 MW capacity each), with the overall capacity to meet a quarter of the country’s current electricity demand. If 25% of our power came from wind, rather than coal, it would reduce US GHG emissions by over 1 billion metric tons of CO2 per year – equivalent to approximately 1/6 of the country’s total CO2 emissions in 2006.
- In 2006, the US spent more on the war in Iraq than the whole world spent on investment in renewable energy.
- US presidential candidate Barack Obama has committed to spending “$150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of green energy technology and infrastructure.” The US spends nearly that much on the war in Iraq in just 10 months.
The emissions associated with the war in Iraq are literally unreported. Military emissions abroad are not captured in the national greenhouse gas inventories that all industrialized nations, including the United States, report under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It’s a loophole big enough to drive a tank through.